SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —  Three men who kidnapped and hid a busload of California schoolchildren in a 1976 ransom attempt have been eligible for parole for years — and now they have the support of the judge, prosecutors and investigators who handled their notorious case.

Their supporters held a rally in San Francisco on Wednesday to call for the release of Fred Woods and brothers Richard and Jim Schoenfeld.

READ MORE: WeHo Follow-Home-Robbery Early Saturday Morning Under Investigation By Sheriff's Detectives

The trio was convicted of abducting 26 children and their bus driver and hiding them underground in a rock quarry. The victims managed to escape after 36 hours, and none were seriously injured.

READ MORE: Judge Denies LA Firefighter's Union Request For Injunction Against City Vaccine Mandate Enforcement

The men repeatedly have been denied parole since they were given life sentences in 1977.

Lawyers for Richard Schoenfeld filed a California Supreme Court petition Wednesday to get him another parole hearing.

MORE NEWS: CHP Investigating 10 Freeway Shooting In Rosemead

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)